for the men who have gathered in a London bar to wake the death of one of their own, nursing hopes of returning to Ireland as successes, when the truth is more complicated, defeated and bitter. Murphy’s play has been restaged numerous times, filmed in Irish, and once performed by an African cast. Livin’ Dred’s touring production takes a more traditional route with Phelim Drew, Malcolm Adams, Arthur Riordan, Seamus O’Rourke and Charlie Bonner performing for director Padraic McIntyre. Jobs for the boys, what? SOUL Shuggie Otis We love people that have extricated themselves from the less appealing aspects of the business that drives their career, deciding instead to do what they do well and in relative seclusion. Otis’s 1974 album, Inspiration Information (and its subsequent re-issue decades later) has increased the man’s profile, but he still takes his time getting here and there, which makes this rare Irish gig all the more special. ART There Are Little Kingdoms above. The ground beneath you is covered by a carpet which might have been borrowed from a playschool. But your seat, an inviting rocking chair cushioned with the image of a skull, looks like the last thing you’ll ever see. Pan Pan’s bold installation performance of Samuel Beckett’s 1957 radio play, first staged in 2011 and lauded at several international appointments since, now comes to the stage of the Abbey Theatre to create a listening chamber, sensationally designed by Aedín Cosgrove. Beckett’s play mingles sardonic wit with lacerating notes of despair as it follows the aged Maddy Rooney (voiced by Áine Ní Mhuirí) who walks to Boghill station (in the thinly disguised Foxrock of Beckett’s childhood) to collect her blind, cantankerous husband (Andrew Bennett). Along the way, and through Beckett’s deliberately musical structure, she encounters polite and assisting villagers whose good nature deflates as quickly as their bike tyres. Director Gavin Quinn captures the play’s mordancy and stark agnosticism with absolute precision, and sound designer Jimmy Eadie envelops us with its staggering clarity. Beckett, vigorously alive to the potential of each medium, was acutely aware of how to position his audience, and here Quinn and Aedín Cosgrove use the space to give us a sense of radio’s disembodiment while putting us – giddyingly and disconcertingly – directly in Maddy’s head.